I have been a martial artist longer than I have been a physician.
After years of practicing the martial arts and medicine, I began to research healing methods used by previous generations of martial artists.
I sought out the most experienced martial art teachers I could find, especially those trained in healing. I did not limit myself to energy healing. While chi gung, hypnotism and meditation are important, so are the manual healing skills to stop bleeding, tape injuries and massage sore muscles.
I was fortunate to learn from some excellent teachers. I think that my being a medical doctor and my persistence opened many doors for me. Sadly, most of these outstanding masters are now gone.
I recognized that the earlier term, “seifukujitsu” used by previous generations of martial artists was no longer in use in Japan. Most Japanese have never heard of this term and do not know what it means. I also found that most non-Japanese have difficulty pronouncing or spelling this older term and likewise do not know what it means.
My wife Laurie first coined the term “Black Belt Healer”. She used this term because “Black Belt” refers to someone advanced in the marital arts and healing is considered the “highest art”.
I felt that a new modern term such as “Black Belt Healers” was appropriate since the course is an updated version of an ancient healing art. Black Belt Healers’ online course is a mixture of the old and the new. In writing the course, I made a special effort to present the newest methods while still preserving the older techniques.
The first course we offered back in 1998 was limited to restorative massage. It took me several years to develop the massage curriculum and have it approved by the state of California. This state approved massage school became known as the Napa Valley School of Massage. If I was going to train my black belt students, I wanted them certified to practice massage therapy. Most of the students in the first graduating class in 1999 were black belts in Pinewood Karate.
I was not satisfied with just teaching restorative massage. I knew that Black Belt Healers should have an understanding of other healing modalities. With that in mind, I turned my attention toward creating the Black Belt Healers’ online course. This course ended up being taught with the combined efforts of our martial art school, Pinewood Karate and the Napa Valley School of Massage.
It occurred to me, in talking with various individuals, that I could not train a large number of students. After all, this type of training in the martial arts was traditionally done privately with the teacher passing on his art to a limited few.
I felt it was impossible to film a dozen DVD’s and do justice to the art. I realized that I would not have the time or energy to travel around the world teaching seminars. I also knew that I couldn’t transport my clinic and patients to other locations. To learn healing, the students must have experience working with actual patients. Having students complete the 27 online lessons before coming to study with me in the clinic was the obvious solution.
The internet offered a perfect technology for introducing this art to others. Blended with a two week Intensive Internship, I began to expand on the practical methods already taught in the first course such as restorative massage, medical gymnastics, hydrotherapy, hygiene, and the underlying principles of anatomy and physiology. To this I added first aid, CPR, taping, splinting and other valuable healing techniques.
Sometimes I am contacted by individuals who are already practicing some form of healing such as massage therapy, physical therapy or acupuncture. Many of them are very interested in expanding their knowledge by learning Black Belt Healing.
Occasionally, however, someone who was already trained in one of the healing arts asks me, “I am already a ____________. What could you possibly teach me?” To those individuals I smile and say, “probably nothing”.
There are however, a few individuals who take the time to research the course I am offering. These individuals are usually older, more experienced martial artists who know the importance and value of becoming a Black Belt Healer. A recent survey of persons interested in becoming Black Belt Healers indicates the majority are between the ages of 30 and 75 years old with 10 to 50 years of martial art training.
My goal is not to train everyone. In fact, I frequently tell people, “Becoming a Black Belt Healer is not for everyone.” There are martial artists who are only focused on fighting and self-defense skills. Others simply don’t have an interest in healing.
I am only interested in training a few truly dedicated men and women. The most important thing is that they must have good character and a strong desire to help others.
Daniel E. Andrews III, M.D.
Founder, Black Belt Healers
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Black Belt Healers is a health course written for martial artists by a medical doctor who is also a martial art master. This course leads to certification in a specialized form of massage therapy for martial artists.